The Pacific Grove Hyperbaric Chamber is a charitable project of the California Marine Sanctuary Foundation, The Hyperbaric Chamber is a critical community resource ensuring the safety of recreational and scientific divers, and military personnel throughout central California. Enhancing the understanding and appreciation of our ocean and coastal resources is integral to all we do. As we strive to increase the enjoyment of the ocean, the chamber is a vital aspect to ensuring accidents do not become tragedies.
The Pacific Grove Hyperbaric Chamber has served a critical role in the treatment of decompression illness (related to diving, flying and carbon monoxide poisoning), saving over 550 lives since it was established more than 50 years ago. It is a vital resource of the area’s world-class recreational diving community, valuable to scientific divers and military pilots who are regularly exposed to significant changes in atmospheric pressure, which makes them susceptible to decompression illness. The facility depends on community support to ensure its ability to treat emergencies 24/7/365. Funding goes to chamber operations and maintenance expenses as well as ongoing specialized medical training for the volunteer MDs, RNs, diver medic technicians and EMTs who donate their services for the chamber. Recently, with the Travis Air Force Base hyperbaric chamber offline, the need for Pacific Grove’s hyperbaric facility has become even more important, now serving all branches of the military.
It wasn’t long ago when the Monterey diving community learned the Pacific Grove Hyperbaric Chamber was out of commission and no longer usable. Going back for many years of service divers never questioned that the recompression chamber would be there for them if it was needed. From the Beachhopper II Dive Charter Boat, we had seen six or seven divers who needed acute care that only the recompression chamber could provide. Learning that the system was in disrepair and out of service gave all divers several months of nervous moments. Thanks to NOAA, the P.G. chamber’s volunteer staff, city of P.G. and others, that shutdown did not last long.
- Capt. Brian Nelson